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Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here

Series/Special. Karima Bennoune discusses her book, 'Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism.' (Stereo)

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Afghanistan 14, Algeria 12, Egypt 10, Us 10, U.s. 8, Pakistan 7, Tunisia 7, Taliban 4, Islam 3, United States 2, Karima Bennoune 2, Mohammed 2, North Africa 2, Algiers 2, New York 2, Kabul 2, Iraq 2, Dr. Turner 1, Faizan Peerzada 1, Stationers 1,
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  CSPAN    Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here    Series/Special. Karima Bennoune discusses her book, 'Your  
   Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight...  

    December 8, 2013
    7:00 - 8:01am EST  

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so that it may be in some cases that we are now up to protections for authors us for so many years and you can imagine and author creating her first novel at 30 and dying 80. that's 120 or so to protection. creative industries as well as user industries and scholarly industries are discovering this is way too long and have all kinds of negative affect. i think one thing that courtesy shows is that men need not be a one size fits all kind of system. that in some cases there can be less protection and in other cases there might be almost no protection, that it will be in limited cases a sort of coming together in protecting works and agreeing to protecting works. professor angle. >> i was wondering if there's
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any role for trade associations in this process? because your discussion of courtesy sounds a lot like the norms long prior to the existence of copyright in england where there was a court enforced courtesy in terms of possession and first entry of areas published things. that's what we know about the ownership of intellectual property by printers and stationers in london. and were their associations, a group meetings, of recognized publishers in new york and philadelphia in the 19th century where courtesy amount of things might be discussed?
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>> lars ingles is asked if there's formal organizations that grew up in the 19th century, more formal publishing organizations to recognize courtesy. and i'm not aware of any formal organization, although varies -- certainly the publishers when they got together at their yearly dinners and other gatherings, actually boasted about their righteous participation in courtesy and how important it was. though i know of no courtesy killed that existed but it certainly existed in reality. now, when you get to 1890 and after, there were some major attempts to use the kind of courtesy that is in formal prices by large deals to enforce a kind of protection. one of these is the fashion originators guild, enforce the
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sale of legitimate designs and dresses and punish those who retailers and others who marketed knockoffs. this was found to be a violation of antitrust laws in the early part of the century, similarly for a group -- a publishers association that grew increasingly upset because there was a great deal of price slashing in books sold -- their books sold by the major department stores like macy's. and they set in motion a kind of price fixing activity that covered both copyrighted and uncopyrighted works. they were knocked down by the
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supreme court for antitrust publishing. one thing i would add is that to the extent this could become a large-scale phenomenon, i think it would run up against strong antitrust law that might step it down. they're not going to sue chef so-and-so for participating in chef a with chef be and probably not sue robin williams for recognizing the in formal rights of some other stand up comedian. but if i got larger i think would run up against an antitrust problem. [inaudible] >> thank you.
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how are you? [inaudible conversations] >> booktv is on facebook. like us to interact with guests and viewers. facebook.com/tv. >> you are watching c-span2 with politics and public affairs. weekdays featuring live coverage of the u.s. senate. on weeknights watch key public policy events. and every week in the latest nonfiction authors and books on booktv. you can see past programs and get our schedules at a website, and you can join in the
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conversation on social media sites. >> booktv continues with karima bennoune. she profiles muslims around the world, including in the u.s., who are fighting against islamic fundamentalism. this is about an hour. >> good afternoon and welcome to today's meeting of the commonwealth club of california. i'm dina inrahim, an associate professor of broadcasting at san francisco state university. i will be your chair for today's program called "your fatwa does not apply here." we also welcome our guest from the turkish parliament and we welcome our listening and internet audience and invite everyone to visit us online at www.commonwealthclub.org. and now it is my pleasure to introduce our distinguished speaker.
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a veteran of more than 20 years of human rights research and activism, karima bennoune is a professor of law at uc davis. she grew up in algeria and the united states. she has served as a legal advisor at amnesty international and has taught at rutgers and the university of michigan. she is widely published on the issues of fundamentalism and counterterrorism. would you please welcome professor karima bennoune. [applause] >> thank you so much for being here today. it's really an honor for me to be here. i would like to thank the commonwealth club for inviting me and for courtney this event and thank you for the lovely introduction. so what i want to do today is share with you a few excerpts from my book, "your fatwa does not appl"your fatwa doesnot apps
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from the fight against muslim fundamentalism." and i want to explain as well why i wrote this book. it was a very big project. i actually interviewed about 300 people from nearly 30 muslim majority countries, from afghanistan tamale. i did this specifically to learn about the work combating extremism are the own expense of persecution at the end of fundamentalists. the people that i met in these three years were incredibly diverse. i think that's one of the most important things to note about the project. soy into good religious scholars and bloggers. i interviewed housewives and such a rights activist. i interviewed people excused themselves to pray in the middle of interviews and other people are toasted the birthday of the prophet mohammed with a glass of wine. plug-in is tremendous diversity. i interviewed and imams daughter who promote these women's rights
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convention which enforcement the u.s. hasn't ratified yet, but she does this believing the women's rights convention is entirely reconcilable with their own muslim they. i interviewed the only woman chief prosecutor in afghanistan who has 23 bodyguards, and yet despite the actual attempt on her life, continue to prosecute in cases of violence against women and corruption, and all the while fears that the united states and international the inl community may be about to sell out afghan women individual quote reconcile with the taliban. the question i asked myself time and again is why are these people not more well-known internationally? everyone knows who osama bin laden was, but very few people know about all of those on the ground who are challenging people like him. what i set out to do in this book is to change that, or at least contribute a little bit towards that change.
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i did this for very personal reasons because my own father was an anthropologist of muslim heritage and raised his life throughout the 1990s to stand up to extremism in his home country of algeria. what i remember is even when he's driven from zone and forced to stop teaching at the university due to death threats from the fundamentalist armed groups, he remained inside algeria and he continued to publish pointed criticisms of both the fundamentalists and the government that they fought. in a three-part series published in newspaper back in november of 1994 very terrible time in what was called the dark decade in algeria, he produced an article called how fundamentalism produced a terrorism without precedent. and in that article he denounced what he called a terrorist radical break with true islam as it was lived by our ancestors. the algerian the democrats as
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they called themselves unfortunately received very little support internationally at the time, including from the international human rights community where i was working. it often seems the international community could not understand what was happening on the ground in algeria because generally people did not grasp the threat to human rights from the ideology of islamism itself. this was the pre-9/11 era. let me stress the ideology of islamism is an entirely different thing than the religion of islam which is practiced by so many people in some way different ways more than a billion people in the world. but i think this misunderstanding of the nature of the threat of the ideology of islamism the human rights of muslim heritage themselves persist today. i would argue and see this at the moment in the press coverage of what is happening in countries like egypt. doing this kind of work on the front lines without
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international support, without international comprehension of the challenge that you face is an incredibly lon lonely endeav. i have seen this firsthand. as a lawyer told me back in december 2012, at a time when entire northern half of her country was under jihadists occupation, she said international solidarity is very helpful. when you live such a crisis alone, it is much more difficult to bear. what my book is really about is trying to break this wall of loneliness and silenced by connecting the people who are doing these struggles on the ground, the people around the world who stand for similar values of tolerance and equality and against discrimination and violence. so before i kill you a few of the stories, i think i should say something about what i mean when i use the term muslim fundamentalism which, of course, itself is a controversial term. i given the book a definition i the algerian sociologist who
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writes about fundamentalism, no bs, not just within islam but fundamentalism is which she defines as political movements of the extreme right which in the context of globalization manipulate religion in order to achieve on all muslims
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everywhere. and second the ultimate goal of creating what they deem to be islamic state to many muslims would dispute entirely their definition of what an islamic state should be like. and that state is to be ruled by the unitary version of what religious laws that they abdicate. these movements have been on the rise since the iranian revolution in particular, and we find them manifesting as political parties, as armed movements, sometimes even as nongovernmental organizations. in response to these movements in the contemporary period, western discourse has sometimes seemed to offer only two choices. that is the number one, the openly discriminatory or flawed characterization that suggest some that islam is inherently fundamentalist or all muslims
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are fundamentalists into one. that is good not only offensive but just plain wrong. one hears the sometimes on the right in the west. unfortunate on the left is what one sometimes hears responses that are too politically correct even to broach the topic at all. and in my view neither of these sets of responses is accurate or helpful, and both do a great disservice to people who are living on the front lines. what i'm trying to create another way to talk about this in the west. i should say as a backdrop to all of this, i am painfully aware that there has been a rise in discrimination against muslims in the last few years in this country as articulated in the far right's attack on president obama as -- which is have become a kind of a sense. but my view is that even this does not mean that silence on the topic of transport is appropriate or productive. and, in fact, my contention is one of the key ways to challenge
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discriminatory notion about people of muslim heritage is precisely to display their diversity. and that one of the ways to do that is to tell the stories of those were practicing muslims, those who are agnostic, or even atheists of muslim heritage who have been victims of muslim fundamentalism and have chosen their bravely to challenge fundamentalist movements. that's a project of my book and with remained a much i'm going to introduce you to a few of these people and it's difficult to pick favorite stories because they have all become very dear to my heart. let me start with a story from the first chapter which is called creativity versus the dark corner. this is a chapter about artists, visual artist and performing artist who i met in places like pakistan come in algeria, people who are refugees from somalia. and it's no accident i think that in virtually every context i visited or studied, artist were on the front lines
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challenging extremism. i was and continue to perform the art or through its very content. one of the people i met early on in the resource -- research was a gentleman who was the director of the theaters workshop in pakistan. since 1992 he and his family and the production company that they ran which was named after the playwright's father brought some 24,000 performing artist from 86 countries to perform in pakistan and simultaneously promoted the work and the performances of local pakistani artist as well in areas of dance and music and puppetry. they brought joy to generations of pakistani art lovers. but as o as a type of jihad vioe in pakistan in 2008, they became a target. they begin to receive threats to call up their events which they were told was in full by those who are calling them and
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threatening. they refused to heed the warnings. so in 2008, a jihadi bomber actually struck their arts festival with three separate bombings producing what he described as a rain of blast that failed, injuring nine. the bombers accomplish was a 12 the potato chip vendor coming to the vineyard carrying ieds along with his packets. i think this is upsetting a particular because there were so many children in the audience at the event as well. but likely the boy was caught it was able to detonate his devices. so they then face a terrible decision. they are festival had been hit, people have been injured. there's a threat the attacks would continue. should they call off the performing arts festival? they were up, the brothers and sisters, debating this question and faizan peerzada told me at about 1 a.m. they decided, as he said it, ladies and gentlemen,
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this ain't going to work. this festival is going to continue. as he said to the bbc at the time, if we doubt -- if we bow down we would just be sitting in a dark corner. they announced the festival would continue the next day. and what happened? thousands of people, more than it ever had in their audiences before, poured into the vineyard to show their support for performing arts and the opposition to the bombers. that festival was able to go on and continue until its scheduled conclusion. but mr. vincent was terrified. he was delighted that he saw a young woman coming in the venue with her two small children and he ran up to her and he said you do know it was upon her yesterday and did you know there's a threat to a be a bomb here today? and she said, but mr. peerzada, i used to come to festival with my mother understood these images in my mind. she understood the only way for her children be able to have a cultural life was for people to
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be there at that event. the next year, unfortunately, it lost their sponsors and could not put on the festival for two years later in 2010 i was able to attend the first event are able to do in the very same thing you. so there we sit in the spot where the bombs went off watching schoolgirls performing a musical called do not. the place sometime is don't tie your tail to a coward. it's about animals. i remember thinking, no one in this venue has been that. the auditorium was absolutely packed. this is a remarkable thing. eight time when the taliban were targeting the girls schools, blowing a girl schools and hit his schoolgirls were dancing and singing and playing with mice and water buffalo on stage. you could see mr. peerzada in the front leaning forward as though he could leap onto the stage at any moment if necessary to protect the girls. but the play concluded successfully and everyone
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exhaled and burst into applause and some are weeping. you could see this sense of hope that people have that children's theater in peace is still possible. when i left the venue that night i was filled with a tremendous sense of hope. first because his teenage daughter told me that in spite of everything that happened she wanted to grow up and become a theater director like her father. and second because when it's leaving the venue, i came across the fre free drive space anythig and someone had written two words which summed it all up. no fear. so the longest chapter in the book is i think unsurprisingly the chapter on women's rights defenders. biggest everywhere i went women were in the forefront to struggle against -- -- women battling beyond stereotypes. i think the relationship between women's rights and fundamentalism was very well
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explained to me by a sociologist in west african nation who was deeply worried about the rise of al qaeda terrorism in her country, targeting, even health care workers and so. she said something very, very smart to me that became kind of the theme of the chapter on women's rights defenders. she said every step forward for women's rights is a piece of the struggle against fundamentalism. i think that's a very important thing for policymakers to think about women's rights are not something you can trade away to gain peace with extremists. women's rights goes to the core of the struggle against fundamentalism. one of those engaged in the struggle whom i met along the way was a doctor, a 70 year old retired college professor who has an organization called the network of women living under muslim laws. she is very angry when i meet her about the date of corporal
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punishment like a 20 don't condemn stoning for adultery in sudan. every day there is a case of women being attacked for what they wear or what they do. i find this very depressing. a practicing muslim herself, she stresses she does not resist islam but rather an islamist discourse. that is, interview aggressive and offensive and crystallizes around the rights of women. i asked her whether secular or religious discourse on women's rights were more useful and challenging fundamentalism, and she insisted that the best approach depended on the context. in certain places it may be entirely appropriate to make what are sometimes called islamic feminist arguments. that is, within religion and religion law. however, for her, she said i refuse to reinterpret the koran to change the family law. i'm not going to enter into the religious debate. i do not want to close myself off. and she argues that above all
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else, the strategy for combating fundamentalism be a political one that takes the debate off what she calls the religious terrain where they wish to trap us. across the age spectrum, i met an 18 -- a 19 year old at the time i met her in kabul, afghanistan, and a college student. she had just founded innovation called young women for change which did something rather remarkable in july 2011. they organized a street protest against harassment of women. they carried banners that said things like i have the right to walk freely in my city. hearkening back to other comments, they both make the argument that street harassment is an islamic because the prophet mohammed said that nobody but those were in barrier in character with this respect women. and they also asserted in human rights terms that women are equal to men and deserve the same dignity.
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before the march took place, she gave interviews on afghan tv and subsequently she received threats by e-mail, facebook and over the phone. but she refused to give up. her only fear was that she would put other women in danger. but they held the march and it was a success. 50 women and a few male supporters walked through the dusty streets of kabul passing out fliers against street harassment. all of on the route they were harassed and cat called at various points. some supported them. but she saw as a victory and there's one thing in particular that really struck her, and this was at the afghan policeman who'd been assigned to monitor this demonstration who had started off perhaps being a bit skeptical about the march. when they saw the harassment of young women as they marched through the street, were so affected by that they took the fliers from her and they began passing them out themselves and,
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in fact, shouting back at those who were heckling the women. now, she was very worried about the future of the country and what will happen when international troops leave next year. i think there's good reason to be worried, and i hope you continue to engage with and remember afghanistan. but somehow she remains positive about the future. she said, this is a striking the near and 19-year-olds it, i may not be alive to see the day but i think training is important. our daughters will be able to walk in this country. i think i have, what, about five minutes left? so i will tell one more story and i wish i could tell so many more but you can find them in the book. you can also find them on the books website at karima bennoune.com if i can get to all of them. i want to end with a story from my fathers home country of algeria, and in algeria in the
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1990s the armed fundamentalist groups battled states that primarily target the civilian population. we don't know the exact numbers but they killed somewhere between 100-200,000 people. i want to end with a sort of one of those people. because to me her life is reminder of how turgid they need is to counter extremism and to support those who are doing that and trying to do that. she said to her father, i will study law and you always have your head high. she's a 22 year-old law student in algeria with the same dreams of illegal grid that i had back in the '90s. she refused to give up her studies despite the fact that the fundamentalist groups threatened anyone who continued their university education. on january 26, 1997, 16 years ago, she boarded a bus in algiers where she was studying to go home and spend a ramadan evening with her family, and she would never finish law school as
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a result. when the bus arrived outside her home that it was stopped at a checkpoint manned by men from the armed islamic group carrying her school bag and is easily identifiable. she was taken off the bus and killed in the street in front of all of the other passengers. the men who cut her throat until the others who had watched, if you go to the university, the day will come when we will kill all of you just like this. she died at exactly 5:17 p.m. which we know because when she felt industry, her watch broke and it still reads 517 time it. her mother showed me the watch and th to think i know when i lk at this the way the secondhand and optimistic up words. shortly before her death she told her mother, mom, please put this in your head. nothing will happen to us. god willing. but if something happens to us, and she's talking about she and
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are sisters, if something happens to us, you and dad, you must know that we are dead for knowledge. you must hold your heads high. as is the case of someone of the countless thousands of algerians murdered armed fundamentalist groups in the '90s and the smaller numbers killed in the harsh counterterrorist response to no one has ever been brought to justice for her murder. most of the murderers were amnestied under the 2005 charter for peace and national reconciliation. and i should say here clearly that while i believe that the only way to advance towards real democracy and human rights in these regions is to defeat fundamentalism, especially because fundamentalism seeks to exploit any and every democratic opening, i also believe that that defeat has to be accomplished in ways that themselves respect human rights and international law like the peaceful struggles detailed in my book. i return again to the memory
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that her watch stopped at 517 time it. a truly unimaginable loss. but as it did the research and as i wrote "your fatwa does not apply here," i found hope. i found hope in two things. the first is the strength of her family to continue telling her story despite official amnesia and told me going on with their lives. in fact, her sister overcame her own grief, went to law school in her sister's memory and today practices as a lawyer in algiers, something that is only possible because the fundamentalist armed groups did not take power in the country. but i also find something that is a source of hope much more broadly. and that is that for me, she lives on today were ever women and men continue to fight against fundamentalism peacefully, like the protesters this summer did in turkey or in tunisia. so for me, her hope lives on
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were ever people continued as she did to strive for knowledge even in the face of extremism, and as she said, to keep their heads held high. and i hope, i would ask if you're moved by these stores, please help me honor these people by sharing them and by sharing "your fatwa does not apply here." and ultimately what this book is really about comes from the slogan of the association of algerians victims of islamist terrorism and what they really put sort of at the center of the work, part of their work is what they call the duty of memories. and i think what that is about is about learning from this history so that we and others do not have to relive it. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> thank you, thank you but it's time for the question and answer pre. i am a dina inrahim, your moderate. we have a large number of questions so let's begin. to what extent our local islamist fundamentalist movements being used as a vehicle for advocating legal or social change? are there other avenues to press these changes that will bypass these movements? >> we have someone asking what is the attraction of islamic fundamentalism? who are these people? what happened to government protection? are their arrests, trials? what happened? >> so maybe we can start with three. thank you very much with these good questions. certainly in certai a certain c, these movements consider themselves to be advocating political change. sometimes social change, although more often i think the
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social aspect of the project is more about charity can actually shift in the distribution of wealth. and what we've seen is when some of these movements come into power, what did they really have is a political agenda for running a modern society. i think this is what happened in egypt and i always think of a wonderful quote from an egyptian women's rights activist, and she said look, saying a prayer over broken pipe won't fix it. saying islam is the solution, it looks great on a poster, but what do you do them when you're trying to provide health care, and what do you do when your job is to build schools and make a modern economy function? so what kind of political and social change exactly are these movements advocating? they seem to be preoccupied with the far right here sometime as well with certain social issues often having to do with women and sexuality.
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the question about the attraction of fundamentalists i think this is a great question. and again i think the answer, a good one would have to be context specific but we don't necessary have the time for that, so if you'll forgive me i would generalize a little bit. i think it depends on what is going on in the particular country. i think sometimes fundamentalists have positioned themselves as being against corruption although as we've seen now in the last few years when they get into power they seem to carry on the tradition of corruptions they have inherited sometimes sort of accelerating it. and now they have a religious cover to use that makes it even more difficult to criticize them. that has been part of the. shortly the repressive nature of some of the regimes they are battling i think makes them seem like a better alternative to some people in certain context but very often what we seek is to represent a continuation or a worsening of that repression.
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i think of a tunisian journalist who i interviewed, and she was somebody who was a staunch opponent of ben ali. at first was sort of hopeful when they took power in tunisia would represent -- in some way a step forward, but she said within about six months she understood that they didn't mean for there to be a transition at all. a sentiment for them to be in power now running the same system but as she said this was not revolutionaries interview. the attraction of these movements i think of any context moving the rhetoric of religion and claiming to speak in the name of god can be very persuasive and appealing to people. and again what a wonderful tunisian activists said to me, and want to put this on t-shirts which are appropriate here, no one has the right to appoint themselves as the spokesperson of god. that's right but sometimes these movements do that and that can make them very attractive. government protection. this is a very big question in
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the context where the fundamentalists are and nongovernmental roles and are attacking the population. very often we've seen the governments have not done what was required of them. that was the case in algeria back in the early '90s. i tell the story in the book where the was a season in early 1993 where the fundamentalist armed groups have started targeting intellectuals. every tuesday morning early in the morning is one newspaper described, a researcher would fall to the bullets of the armed groups. one tuesday somebody started pounding on the door at our house. we couldn't figure out who it was and had to say we ultimately never did figure out who it was, but my father was terrified, not for himself to be assumed the riskier taken but because i was there with him in the apartment and he called the police and nobody answered the phone. to be fair to the algerian police, they were being slaughtered in large numbers. they were among the first waves of people to be killed which is
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happening in egypt now as well. i recognize that some police took very system risks as to some soldiers in the context to try to protect the population. very often regimes are much more interested in protecting their own interest and they are frightened of a truly democratic opposition and so may not have all the motivation that they should have to protect the population. that's what i think the international community has to speak a. i spent the summer in tunisia, there was an assassination of a gentleman while i was there in july who was a deputy in the constituent assembly, very outspoken critic of the government. and now we find out from press reports that he knew they were warned of foreign intelligence agencies at a time that he was going to be targeted and they did nothing whatsoever to protect him, and some on the ground, i cannot prove is one way or the other, some on the ground suggests they may have been involved.
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long answers but great questions. spin on the issue speaking up i think the next cluster of questions tend to address that in their own way. so this has to do with speaking out. who is responsible for the lack of voice is heard from the islamic world criticizing the fundamentalists? that's one. but a big publisher of muslims in the u.s., why did peace loving and modern muslim people are not vocal denounce the islamic fundamentalists and their atrocity? this question is a good one. often the issue of authenticity arises when individuals criticize a certain cultural idea. defined the secular individuals with speaking out against muslim fundamentalism are dismissed for not being authentic muslims? if so, how does secular individuals make their voices
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heard? >> i was warned that it would be great questions. those are all really great questions. so the first question about the lack of voices, i would say transnational and there really is no lack of voices. those voices do not get the microphone and that was only part of what my work is about, trying to meet -- may be working in languages other than english whose work is not making it here, and somebody asked me the other day, what can we do to help? one of the key thing is to get some of these people's words in russian, in farsi, in arabic translated and read here and heard here. that is so very important. it is hard sometimes to make yourself heard even when you write in english. at the time of the 10th anniversary of september 11, of 21, -- 2001, i lived in the new area for 10 years after 9/11 i wrote a piece called why i hate al qaeda which is basically a
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person of secular muslim heritage is sort of denunciation of this kind of extreme terrorism that has claimed the lives of so many, vote in the 9/11 attacks and so that other attacks that get less attention elsewhere. i couldn't get it published. i tried so hard to get published but it was finally adopted by families international law blog and it's all the light of day and it's now in the books. but it did other many people out there trying to make themselves be heard. if you blow something up is easy to get on tv. if you take an extreme position. if your position is let's be moderate, let's look at the complexity, let's try to understand, it is much were difficult in this headline driven world to be heard. i think we need to change that. now i'm going to say something somewhat contradictory that will sound contradictory but i do believe one of my professors said something brilliant once is what you have to be able to think two things at the same time. i think that's true. at the same time i would like to say that while a lot is being
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done and a lot is being done if you don't know about, much more must be done. i would give in particular to those of us in the arab american and muslim-american diasporas to be as courageous in speaking out as the people i met in my book who were taking so many risks. i know it's difficult to do this. it's a threatening environment sometimes with all of the discriminatory language we hear in some context against muslims. i would say if americans generally are one and what can we do to facilitate more of this critical discourse, part of it is in combating discrimination against muslims to create the space in which people can express themselves. there is some wonderful work being done. i was just in houston and i met -- they came early on a saturday morning to see me. this is their level of commitment. we were meeting at 8 a.m. on a saturday morning. some people in the pakistani community had founded the alliance for tolerance and compassion and they were bringing pakistanis who are
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shiites and sunnis together to counter secularism, counter violence in their countries and to try to build a coalition around this opposition view of extremism and violence. i think these little efforts that are beginning to crystallize are so important, even though much more can be done. authenticity, i think now in our minds in this area we have a certain idea of what it means to be a muslim, whether positive start or a negative stereotype, it's a stereotype nonetheless that if you're a muslim woman you cover your head. that i going to come from the middle east and north africa or muslim majority countries would call themselves first and foremost a muslim rather than perhaps a citizen of the country or a man or a woman or a member of the ethnic group or so one. i think we generalize and stereotype those in ways that are positive and negative but they still end up being
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generalizations that don't reflect the complexity of the reality on the ground. people of muslim heritage have just as many diverse relationships with their religious heritage as people of any other religious background. some believe, some don't. some practice, some don't. some practice in different ways. some practice but it's still not in the way they would choose to identify themselves. i'm pakistan, on turkish, an algerian, i'm south asian, and so when. if there is one single thing i'm asking people to do is to recognize the incredible rich diversity of those we simply now called muslim. >> a member of the audience says, i've working initiative on for almost 15 years but have lived in afghanistan, egypt and iraq. this dialogue has been ongoing all these years. prior to 9/11 activists are calling for intervention in afghanistan because of the treatment of women, nothing
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happen. haven't we reached a point of going beyond dialogue? >> so, i guess i think that question whether i ever think the use of force is necessary. and i should say that yes, i do believe that sometimes it is necessary in certain contexts when you're confronting armed jihadi groups who believe themselves to go to war with a state or a ledge actual armed occupiers and/or killing large numbers of the civilian population. i also believe, that was a point i tried to express at the end, that the use of force with a local one or an international one has to be carried out with respect for international law, both humanitarian law in terms of not targeting civilian population, avoiding civilian casualty and so on but also respecting the u.n. charter rules on when force may be used. and i also think that if we do use for -- force, we must follow
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through. i actually make a distinction between the conflicts in afghanistan which ugly was legal and the conflict in iraq would simply was not. very often in the u.s. especially on the left people sort of a similar these two conflict. i think they are different. when we got afghanistan wrong was then going into iraq, not spent the money on the ground for development of the people were so thirsty for. i went to afghanistan back in 2005 in so many people were so glad the taliban had been overthrown to talk about ordinary people taxi drivers, not just political activists or women rights advocates. we took our eye off the ball and didn't follow through, and now i really fear the situation where going to leave afghan in. one of the afghan women i interviewed for the book, a very prominent afghan human rights activist who lost family back in the terrible conflict in the 1990s when the international
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committee had forgotten what happened in the country, she said to me, look, when international troops leave, if the international community is not continue to care what happens here, we'll find ourselves in a worse situation than we were in before. my great fear is that women's rights and social issues will be seen as a bargaining chip that the west can make peace now with the taliban. rehearing this oxymoron, the moderate taliban, if they are moderate why the taliban? my fear is in our rush to cut it out of afghanistan with some form of honor intact, that we will be willing to make those concessions. and, in fact, lived very terrible situation on the ground. i think of another woman i interviewed, the head of afghans human rights commission visit a buddhist talk about leaving afghanistan with dignity, but they named their dignity, not the dignity of the afghans. we have to remain committed to the dignity of the afghans.
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terrorism against afghan is equally important to terrorism against westerners. and, in fact, the two things are related. sorry, that was a very long answer but it is a very important question. >> so i think this question is answered why the entire book. that's my 2 cents but i'm going to go ahead and ask it anyway. what should moderate muslims -- what should or what could moderate muslims do in the face of islamist terrorism? >> there are so many creative things that could be done to let me give you one other example of what people did on the ground. sorry, i didn't get to do, which is about a women's group in nigeria back in the '90s pick it was the acronym of the organization. what they would do after a bomb attack is go out and protest at the bomb crater. it would show up. the police would say we can protect you. we can protec protect you and is
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the, you can protect us or not but we are staying. they would fill up the bomb critters with flowers. they mobilized thousands of thousands of people over time, not political activists. ordinary people who just had enough to go out and have these vast demonstrations at a very dangerous time when the demonstrations themselves good and sometimes it did become targets. while the efforts of the urgency duty forces were imported in curbing the worst of the terrorism, this popular mobilization was absolutely critical. that's just to give you one example of what people can do on the front lines. i do think we need to do much more. every single time there is an attack year to be speaking about on the internet, having websites, issuing statements. and we are right, in the arab and muslim population in the u.s. there are organizations that work against discrimination that will tend to speak out, for sample when there are u.s. violations of the rights of
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muslim sure or israeli violations of palestinian rights come at us for all of that but we need to be just as vigilant and just as outspoken. it shocks me almost every week there are scores of iraqis killed in ordinary iraqi men and women killed in sectarian violence and and fundamentalist terrorism. i don't hear us been as vocal as we should be about that. and over time to become inured to the to a friend of my called it the third world body count. it happened every week. you don't even notice after a while. but if we responded each time with a forceful statement, overtime that could begin to make a difference. and as you so rightly put, i would say the rest of the answer is in the book, which is diverse by the way. i could not put it down. i really good and i was in tears for many parts of it as well because the people she interviewed are so incredibly great. and circumstances that are just beyond our imagination.
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we really have it pretty good he. we are living in a cushy society, and these are folks who are really putting their lives on the line to struggle against extremism. now, part of the solution, one of the suggestions here, isn't the solution to get to the source of funding a fundamentalist than follow the money? >> absolutely. this is a very critical. many of these fundamentalist movements received copious amounts of funding from the gulf in particular. and i think this is another place the u.s. needs to ask him questions about its own policy and why we then such strong supporters of some of these gulf regimes, why we have called the moderate when they are anything but, for example, in saudi arabia women can't even drive. one of the things you hear quite angrily for many people across the regions is we don't want to be like the gulf. they have a right. they can live the way they want that we're nothing like them.
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we don't want to live like them but even in the gulf context i would say to our new ways of living that are being imposed on people that do not reflect at all have people used to live 20 and 30 years ago. i heard those stories again and again. in egypt, the external funding for the muslim brotherhood was a huge issue to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds. this is a very significant issue in tunisia as well. the question is, what kind of resources are there to support their opponent? first of all, it's interesting because they are then hypocritically criticizing it is taking external support, which is rather absurd, frankly, given what they receive. this is true in egypt sort of miniscule to what their opponents are receding. but i do think we need to follow the money and we need to look at where our money has gone in the past. the causes of fundamentalism are complex in any context.
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my dad was an anthropologist and he would always say there's external and internal consequences. that are endogenous and exogenous cause and get a look at all than. i'm not putting the whole point here on funding but if you look at our own role in the past underfunding we poured into afghanistan because they were fighting the soviet union, regardless of how extreme their ideology was. and if that we supported some of the most extreme groups, and that had terrible consequences both on people in afghanistan when the cold war was over, but also across the region because young disaffected and came up or away from indonesia and rocker and algeria, and to participate in this quote unquote jihad and they got training and learn how to use weapons or and then they went back home to all of the countries and this problem of armed jihadism really
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metastasized. so i think following the money is absolutely critical. >> moving onto women, you talked to a lot of women. there's a question here about what will it take for women to realize their 50% contribution to this process? let me read the question from the beginning. as the twig is beat so goes the tree. >> that's an interesting question. i certainly think that women are implicated in all aspects of this problem, just as men are, but i would say that so many women have really ceased the responsibility of spoken out against fundamentalism and organize against fundamentalism. and i met them from diversity of regions and context, saudi arabia, gaza, afghanistan, those stories that you heard, west
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africa and so when. so i do think that many women have, in fact, realize the critical roles that they can play. part of it again is they really need support. they are really fighting an uphill battle and sometimes taking very great risk to fight that battle. and i think, for example, it is a small section in the chapter on women about some lesbian activists in pakistan. that's not how they actually define themselves. they use a different descriptor, but that's how we would define them here. in fact, i couldn't even use the name. but there they are on the ground in pakistan in a very difficult environment continuing in the ways that they can can sometimes even to organizing a support group for what they call queer people, to be able to meet each other and have a social life and even promoting some publications in what we would call the lgbt
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community is there. so i think women are finding a diverse range of creative ways to take on this issue. and again what they really need is i think number one, networking, to have a transnational network of support i can compete with the transition network of support that their opponents receive. and number two, funding. one other example, the network of women living under muslim law which is a wonderful transnational network of women from west africa to south asia and beyond, also in diaspora populations that allow women to come together mostly nowadays through the internet and shared strategies, what has worked, what have they been doing, get others to campaign on the issues. you have women in the nigeria. jeff howe service going from malaysia to the trials of the muslim woman in fiji and so on, this incredible model of transnational work. and i think that model is one that needs to be supported to
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facilitate the taking of responsibility that the question refers to. to. >> what is the difference between the brotherhood, muslim brotherhood, and fundamentalism? so what is essentially the difference between organized the muslim brotherhood and the more conservative fundamentalist movements? >> you get a lot of very different answers if you asked different people that question. this is of course something i struggle with in my but because i have to do what legal academics would call strategically essential eyes, to be able to regenerate about this phenomenon while still recognizing the particular case of this moving. you can see the language i use to try to do that in the book. the muslim brotherhood is a transnational, so-called political movement, social movement. it has political parties in different contexts.
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of course, to start in egypt but we see it now in many, many different countries in the gulf across north africa, in tunisia. the salafis are often described as sort of dash a i think it's a misnomer the most conservative. i don't think it's conservative. i think it's a radical project that is not changing the way in which people live, not preserving the way in which they have lived. they have -- they argued that the most rigid interpretation of islam, of the koran. sometimes i would argue these tend to come from outer space. i'm not sure whether coming from. here's some this important to note in this is a controversial bid. if you talk to a lot of people on the ground in north africa right now who are confronting the fundamentalist, what they're frustrated by is the in the west we refer to the muslim brotherhood and its ills as close moderate because they're not as extreme as the salafis or even the openly armed salafis.
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the people on the ground were doing this work will say, look, actually it is the muslim brotherhood is in tunisia that is opening the door for the salafis, that is opening the door for the armed movements, that is pushing us in the direction of a more and more radical interpretation of islam. and so just because perhaps the salafis or even worse destiny that you should use the label moderate. they always aske ask me what exy does the term moderate mean. a former student of mine in tunisia wrote me this very weird e-mail which he said basically moderate means you kill your fellow muslims. you don't kill westerners. you're not engage in sort of al qaeda like terrorism. so while it is important one and i think to be careful and to try to make distinctions, many people on the ground also see the relationship between these movements and these networks. i think that's vital to understand as well.
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>> we like it might our listening audience that this is a commonwealth club program called "your fatwa does not apply here." today's speaker is professor karima bennoune, author of "your fatwa does not apply here." i'm dr. turner but, unfortunately, we have time for only one last question. and that is, how are women and modern muslims faring in egypt today speak with so you say the easy question for last. how are women faring in egypt today, i think from what i've been hearing from some of the women i interviewed in the book, there's a great deal of frustration about the lack of international understanding of what they are facing on the ground. many of those people certainly are critical of repression by the government or by the army, but they are also extremely critical of the violence of the muslim brotherhood and its
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supporters. and critical of the brotherhood's and the salafis' threats against christians, violence against christians, violence against muslims who are known to speak out and oppose them. a few weeks ago there was a very moving op-ed in "the new york times." i was thrilled was there from an egyptian journalist describing what his life is like now due to the level of threats that he's getting from members of the muslim brotherhood. it reminded me so much of algeria in the 1990s. so i think it is so vital that we look at all of this range of threats to human rights in egypt, and in particular and cajun from a talk about and that is the challenge that the ideology of islamism itself poses for human rights. that was the ideology of muslim brotherhood sought to impose on egyptian population when it was in power. that was not the ideology that people revolted for back in 2011. they wanted more freedom am d